Walking on, Walking on Broken Glass. . .

We are saying goodbye the horrendous green monstrosity of a bathroom we have coped with for the past six years.

The bathtub, sink, and toilet were all green. But they were all different greens. The sink and tub were slightly different shades of mint chocolate chip ice cream green (minus the chocolate chips) and the toilet was closer to avocado. The painted part of the walls – yet another shade of green, and the floor tiles – oh, you guessed it, several varying shades of green. But then, there was the wall tile. . . oh, the wall tile . . . all around the room, and it was . . . MAUVE. Not the kitschy 50’s pink that often got paired with a pastel shade of green. That we could play with. This was dusky, dated, ugly mauve – that lost space between kitsch and neutral that makes you dream of sledgehammers. And, were it not bad enough, there was a mirror that took up most of one wall, so all of that color madness echoed.

We lived with paint chips taped to our walls for YEARS, because there was no way you could walk into that bathroom and decide on a new paint color. All the permanent fixtures were so offensive that there wasn’t a good choice. Even white would have been obnoxious.

To add insult to injury, while the bathtub looked like it was a perfectly normal size, it wasn’t. I am about as average as you can get. I’m 5’6″ and my clothes are always mediums, but when I tried to take a bath in that tub I felt like an Amazon woman. My knees stuck out and the water level couldn’t get deep enough to stay warm for more than 2 minutes anyway. We will never again buy a house without first sitting in the bathtub.

And no, I didn’t take before pictures (just the above ‘during’ shot), because I don’t want to remember the way it looked. I just want to move on.

Do you like how I’m writing all of this in past tense, like it’s all gone already and replaced with something better? Like we didn’t just put some holes in the walls and make the bathroom unusable and then realize it was harder than we thought and it was best to regroup and figure things out? Like I didn’t spend the entire night trying to convince myself that I did not have to pee, so I wouldn’t have to walk down the dark stairs to the creepy basement bathroom in the middle of the night by myself, because my faithful canine companions were too busy snoring to lead the way and protect me from basement spiders, or wall squirrels (there was an incident, but we are hoping it was just a case of sound echoing from outside critters, not an inside critter the size of a house cat).

So, we’ve got some good holes in the walls. We’ve got enough broken tile chips on the floor so it’s not reasonable to walk in there just to use the facilities and risk tracking little fragments everywhere. But the mirror is gone, so at least there’s no reflection of our haphazard destruction. We’re trying to save as much as we can to donate, and the mirror was going to be a part of that, but it cracked coming off the wall, and as much as I would have liked to find a way to recycle it, I also didn’t want to risk it breaking further while we were storing it, because glass shards and dog paws are not a good mix, so J hauled it out to the curb last night for the trash pickup.

This morning, when J took the dogs out, Stella barked like crazy. J said he heard loud, crashing noises coming from The Crap Garden. When he brought the dogs back in, he looked out the window to see Mrs. Gnome wheeling half the broken mirror down the sidewalk on a small metal luggage cart. She leaned it against our garbage can and dragged her cart back to The Crap Garden.

I’m not sure I want to know why she felt the need to break glass in her backyard, what she plans to do with broken mirror shards, or why she only wanted half of what was left of the mirror and not the whole thing. How does one decide how much crap is needed in The Crap Garden? Half the broken mirror was just right, but the whole thing would have just been overkill? I guess I can’t pretend to understand her vision. Nor can I pretend to understand why our down-the-street-neighbor was in the front yard in his underwear in 40 degree weather last Wednesday afternoon.

I’ll put my respirator and goggles on today and chip away at the tiles in the bathroom, but no matter how much I temper the crazy inside, it will still be lurking out there . . . Although, I just posted a picture of myself in a respirator on the internet. Am I becoming one of them?

Good Fences . . .

Well, we got three quotes on a fence, the highest being twice the lowest. We had the same thing happen when we needed a new roof. This is why at least three quotes are a necessity when it comes to hiring someone to do home repairs. I am shocked that the cost can vary so much, especially in this case, when we are talking about the exact same type of fencing.

Fortunately, the lowest price was from the person I like the best. He didn’t try to talk me into fudging our property lines to put the fence on the drainage easement that’s on one side of our property like the other two did.

Several of you mentioned putting up your own fencing. I admire you. I am sure it would save us a good chunk of change . . . on fencing. But, I have learned that most DIY projects around this house usually result in increased medical costs. Most significantly, the bathtub caulking/plumbing incident that resulted in a herniated disc and a lost year of my life. I am in far better shape now than I was then, (and don’t spend my days teetering around on high heels and sitting in a crappy office chair anymore), but with all the work I have ahead of me, I’m not taking any chances right now. I’m accident prone, and Jeremy has been working so much that he just doesn’t have the time right now, so we’re going to leave it to people who know what they are doing and have the proper tools.

Last Thursday, I went down to the town hall to get a permit. Hopefully, that will come through this week, then I’ll send in my deposit. Weather permitting, we could have a fence up in the next three weeks. Oh, that would be lovely.

Stella has been doing okay with going out leash-free to do her business (as long as Argo is with her) but she won’t go if Mr. or Mrs. Gnome are outside. If she sees either of them, she just stands there barking, with the grey patch of fur on her back puffed up at attention. So, in order to get her to pee outside instead of inside, I have to keep an eye out and take her when Mrs. Gnome goes in her house. As the weather gets warmer, the window of pee time will just get smaller and smaller, because Mrs. Gnome spends all summer rearranging The Crap Garden and raking leaves out of the woods. Hopefully, the fence will keep Stella from noticing her presence. Hopefully, Stella won’t just turn around and develop a fear of the fence. Since I’ve observed Stella’s sudden fearfulness of a random spot on the kitchen floor, or a cardboard box, or a gust of wind, I know fence-fear is well within the realm of possibility.

Stella is such a colossal pain in the ass sometimes, but my love and devotion for that little dog is limitless. I don’t know if I see myself in her – the weird fears, the insecurities, the optimism she seems to employ when starting each day – or if I just have a need to root for the underdog (pardon the pun). Either way, I’m really glad she found us and vice versa. Now, I need to figure out how to get her to stop trying to eat the coffee table.

Jump to the Jam, Boogie Woogie Jam Slam

In other words, funky, funky, which best describes the mood I was in for the past couple of weeks. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you may be too young to read my blog, and you should probably watch this).

God, I miss the 90’s sometimes – that little teeny tiny moment in time when it was cool to be an Xer. Because honestly, sometimes, I feel like we’re just gasping for air, smooshed between the Boomers and the Y’s. But that’s probably another rant for another day.

Anyway, I was stuck in a really big funk and that’s why I wasn’t blogging. Noelle wrote about having a new year breakdown and crying about everything crappy that happened in 2008, and I had one of my own. While I was sobbing uncontrollably (in the backyard), I was actually thinking, this happened to Noelle too, maybe it’s just a 2009 rite of passage or something.

What spurred it? Well, of course it was dog related.

Since Thanksgiving, I have worked my ass off with Stella. She wouldn’t pee while she was on her leash, so we had to let her off leash in the backyard to go, so she wouldn’t end up exploding, or peeing on our rug (which happened 3 times). But we don’t have a fenced in yard, so getting her to come back in was a challenge. Add to that her inexplicable fear of doorways, and you have a big problem.

After working with her to the point where I was beginning to feel like my only purpose in life was to be a dog babysitter, I finally got her to come inside easily when I called her. But then, last weekend, when it was all of 10 degrees out, Stella ran off after some birds and discovered that Mrs. Gnome leaves chunks of meat in her backyard.

Yes. Chunks of meat.

I spent an hour (in my slippers) running around trying to get the dog to 1. drop the meat, and 2. go back in the motherflipping house. When the snow pulled my slipper off mid-run, and I ended up barefoot in snow up to my shin, the stream of profanity that left my mouth would have made George Carlin proud. J came out to help me, and we got Stella back in the house. One problem. She still hadn’t peed.

I found Argo’s super long training leash and used that to bring Stella out in the yard again, hoping that the 20 or so feet of personal space she could get on that leash would be enough to get her to go, but it still took a good 30 minutes before she peed. And somewhere in those last 30 minutes in the back yard, I lost it. I started openly weeping and whimpering things like “Why can’t you pee like a normal dog?” and “Who puts meat in the their back yard?” But it wasn’t all about my urinarily handicapped dog and the freaking meat chunks. I cried because my goal in life is not to be a dog babysitter. I cried because I hate our house and our neighborhood and our not-so-delightfully wacky neighbors. I cried because I miss my best friend, and I was tired and it was cold and I hadn’t seen sun for days, and I didn’t accomplished everything I set out to in 2008. I cried because no matter how much I accomplish, what I don’t accomplish always seems to matter more.

But, let’s get back to the important part of this story. Who the frack puts meat out in their back yard? At first, I thought maybe Mrs. Gnome was trying to poison Stella, because Stella may or may not have peed in The Crap Garden (ha! That’s funny) earlier in the week. When I finally got Stella to drop the meat, I ran into the house and dropped the meat in a plastic bag to store in the freezer, ranting to J that if Stella got sick, I was going to tell the authorities it was a homicide attempt and they could test the meat and Mrs. Gnome would totally do hard time in a bad place with other dog killers. After running around for an hour in slippers in 10 degree weather, I’d given up on being rational. Also, in my near hypothermic-rage, I may or may not have threatened to urinate in the gnome’s garden. I am thankful that my husband realizes I am all bark and no bite.

Later, I remembered Mrs. Gnome telling me that she feeds the fox that lives behind our houses to encourage him to stick around and eat the bunnies that eat her garden.

Um. . . wait a minute. Bunnies don’t hibernate. I see 2 or 3 of them a day. Our yard is littered with bunny tracks and little brown marbles, and I would like to go so far as to propose that we have so many bunnies in our yard, because Mr. Fox has an endless supply of meat waiting for him in The Crap Garden. I mean, if I were a fox and I had the choice between running around in the snow after bunnies and chowing down on meat that’s already cut up in neat little cubes waiting for me under the bird feeders, I know what I’d choose. I spent an hour running around in the snow after Stella, and, it wasn’t fun. Although, admittedly, I had no desire to eat her once I caught her, so perhaps the chase was missing some essential element.

So now, despite my two months of work with Stella to get her to come when she’s called, I am forced to take her out on her long leash and wait and wait and wait for her to pee (last night, when it was 2 degrees, it was especially fun), because Mrs. Gnome hasn’t seen enough episodes of nature to know that a fox with a belly full of meat probably isn’t going to chase a rabbit.

But I did get a good long cry out of the deal, and that, like a fever breaking, was the beginning of the end of the funk.

We really need to move. Also, if we ever do, I am going to have “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” tattooed on the back of my hand before we start househunting, because I believe no truer words were ever spoken.